Paul Robeson’s Love Song
An Audio Play, by Tayo Aluko
Directed by Olusola Oyeleye.
When a strange vinyl record is found hidden in a closet in Kenosha, WI, an unlikely connection is found between a Jewish family and the African-American singer Paul Robeson, recalling the racism, anti-Communism, anti-Semitism and near-fascism of the United States of the 1940s, with worrying parallels to Trump-era America.
Recorded online during lockdown.
While clearing out their late mother’s belongings in August 2020, two siblings discover a package containing a record, suggesting a possible romantic link between their grandmother and Paul Robeson, dating back to 1949.
As they watch coverage of protests at the latest police shooting happening down the road from them, they recall their mother telling them of protests at a Robeson concert outside Peekskill NY in 1949.
They realise that as a child, she had witnessed the best and the worst of their country in violent conflict in the same way as was unfolding now in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Contains some racist and anti-Semitic language.
This is an imagined story based around the Peekskill and Kenosha happenings.
Running time, 55.5 mins
Now streaming on demand at C Arts.
Click image below to listen to trailer.
“Thoroughly compelling and highly educational … my highlight of the Liverpool Theatre Festival …” Writebase
Cast (in order of appearance)
Pianist. Dennis Nelson
ADELE SPEARS Ananda Bena-Weber
GEORGE SIMONS Bob Weick
PAUL ROBESON Tayo Aluko
CHARLIE DANIELS. Nils Swanson
BENJAMIN WINGER. Michael Bias
JESSICA WINGER. Lisa Merrill
ESSIE ROBESON Leslie McCurdy
PAUL ROBESON, JR. Mark Atkinson
LLOYD BROWN. Darryl Van Leer
HELEN ROSEN Michelle Pauls
SIDNEY DANIS David Rovics
Recorded by David Rovics,
Directed by Olusola Oyeleye, October, November 2020
Edited by Tayo Aluko and Adrian Leibowitz
First broadcast: April 9, 2021 on
(allFM)96.9, Manchester, UK;
Songbook, KPOV, Oregon, USA;
The Word With Miranda, Ujima Radio, Bristol, UK;
Terrestrial FM, Vancouver Community Radio CFRO 100.5FM Canada